The coins lay before me on the table. Beside them was my open book of instruction. “For which of you, intending to build a tower does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it.” The coins were only a visual representation of my life and the things I thought of as important. One by one I began to stack them in a tower formation, naming each for what they represented.
Reputation, relationships, finances, comfort, understanding, livelihood, dreams, trust, time, investment, home, safety, control, talents, ambition…the names went on as the stack grew taller. I looked back at my instruction book, “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple”.
I lifted my eyes to look at the prize of Jesus and eternal life. Glancing once more at the coins representing my life, I moved my hand to push them off the table. It seemed little enough to offer these things in light of the treasure yet to be had.
* Scriptures Luke 14:28, 33
Beneath the shade of a pine tree, looking over the crowd
On my knees at the top of a hill overlooking the valley
Driving the streets of my city
Standing in a driveway listening with my whole heart
Under the umbrella while the rain pours around me
Pacing back and forth in a kitchen not my own
In an upper room with others
On the stage for a friend’s baptism
These are the places I’ve been in the last week alone, mostly to pray. Sometimes I walk alone. Many times I don’t. Culture defines me as unemployed. God defines me as “laborer”.
Luk 10:2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
It was time to visit the high places once more. The air was chilly and I prepared myself for a walk in the rain if needed. In silence I set myself to the short hike. From the hilltop I gazed again at the city I loved with compassion. I made my way to the bronze plaque with a picture of a plowman acknowledging the pioneers who came before. Walking back toward the tree, I set myself upon a rock in the sun.
I didn’t have a whole lot of words. I knew I didn’t need them. The clouds at my back were dark and ominous, but before me the sun promised warmth and comfort. I let my mind rest in this peaceful moment, allowing my heart to cry out instead. Looking below me, I silently asked for hope to fill our streets.
I wasn’t ready to leave, yet I knew there was another high place I had to visit. Once in my car again, I turned it around to go in the opposite direction for where I was. Reaching another hilltop I walked this familiar ground speaking the desires of my Father.
Before I had gone to pray for my city, I had been feeling anxiety for my personal needs. Now driving home, I recognized that as I had tended my Father’s work, He had tended my heart to remove the anxiety and fill me with peace. Tears of gratitude began to wash my cheeks.
Ever wonder if everyone thinks you are crazy? What a relief when you finally realize you are and can get on with living that life others think is so crazy. Jesus laid out a roadmap to follow that was pretty serious. He said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” He also said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
What radical statements to make if you were trying to build up a following. But that’s the kind of King He was, and is. He’s not looking for the crowds. He’s looking for those who will really follow Him.
We should really be paying attention to this concept in the Word.
* Scriptures Matt 10:22, 16:24
Listening to the rushing water, I let my eyes wander the landscape. Across the way was a tiny hidden spring adding to the water pool. Compared to the creek and lake this small spring was a mere steady water hose. Yet here it was adding itself to the larger bodies of rushing water. As I watched it I began to think of the many tiny springs which pour out diligently to keep the waters flowing.
I closed my eyes and thanked Jesus. This is an hour in life where there are many hidden springs being poured out for the multitude.
Joh 7:37-38 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
“If you need some help just give me a call.”
Such an easy statement, but do we mean what we say? Are we really the church or do we just play at going to church? We are all different people, but we all read the same book.
Jas 2:14-17 (Message) Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup–where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
“How much is enough?”
How many channels do we need on our television service?
How many rooms in a house?
How many bathrooms?
How many cars?
How many video games?
How many gadgets?
How many dvd movies?
How many music cds?
How many downloaded songs on the Ipod?
How much in our bank account?
How many toys?
How many televisions?
“When is enough plenty?”
“When will we give to those who really have need?”
“When will we understand the way we’ve been taught to do things is not working for those who are desperate?”
“When will we open our eyes to see?”
“When will our hearts be changed to hear what Jesus spoke?”
“When will we see ourselves in truth…‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked?”*
* Scripture Rev 3:17
Many years back some friends of mine wanted me to go to a concert at the last minute. Being spontaneous in nature, I found myself racing down the freeway with them to try and catch the show. Exiting the car I could feel the drums in the parking lot. With each step, we drew closer to the excitement and I could sense the anticipation for what I was going to be a part of.
Once in the arena, I was entertained by songs I knew well. The familiarity allowed me to join in song. At one point though, one of the lead singers began to sing something I had never heard. Her voice rang out so clear it impacted me with its power. I never forgot the words she sang….”don’t stray too far out on your own, cause when you finally come knocking there’ll be nobody home…nobody home“.
A mere sentence in some song I’d never heard churned in me. The seed was being watered again…to seek Jesus and His call to my heart. I sometimes wonder about the years I missed because I was so slow to answer the knock.
Standing outside to look at the sky I could hear my phone begin to ring. I glanced toward the house but chose to enjoy the moment before me. I had been listening to a song by Miles Davis in the background. There were no words, just notes being played on a trumpet softly.
Warmth filled me in understanding. How often we try to fill our quietness with too many words; trying to address questions too soon, before we have answers. It was an hour to listen carefully and not be distracted by clamoring voices.
Hail rained upon our city. A rainstorm with thunder announced the presence of power. A storm was coming, bigger than this show in the natural. I bowed my head to see nothing with my own eyes, for they had grown weary and tired. In my quiet place I waited. I spoke only what I was to speak and I waited.